I've been a mother for a little over 18 years now, and although I wouldn't trade those years for anything, there's no question that raising kids has been a challenge. In fact, in those 18 years, I've never spoken to a single mother who hasn't felt completely overwhelmed at one point or another.
My guest today has a unique perspective on chronic overwhelm. She was already raising three boys when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
Her story is a real inspiration and her message is one that all mothers can benefit from in this time of near-constant uncertainty.
She also has an amazing podcast, called Mom is In Control, "about pursuing the life you crave without sacrificing the parent you want to be." Check it out once you've finished this one!
It's no secret that new mothers can go through some pretty brutal emotional ups and downs after giving birth.
But that doesn't necessarily make it easier to talk about, or get rid of the stigma that some of us feel when we experience postpartum depression.
My guest today, Courtney Allison, is a wife, mother to two little girls, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, as well as the creator of The Girl Without a Mom, and her YouTube channel is full of videos to help moms learn everything they need to know about mental health, coping skills and self care.
Whether you're a new mom or a parent of any stripe, I can't recommend her content highly enough! Check her out on today's episode of The Sleep Sense Show!
These last couple of months have been trying ones for most people I know, but nobody more so than parents.
The sudden demand for us to step into every role for our children, from parent to teacher to playmate and beyond, has proven to be a tall order, to say the least!
That's a big reason why I'm so happy to bring you this week's episode, featuring an interview with Alyssa Westring, one of the authors of "Parents Who Lead - The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life"
Alyssa has taken the principles of leadership and applied them to the realm of parenting, and I've got to say, this conversation was one "A-ha!" moment after another.
Check it out, then check out her book! It's one of the most engaging reads I've experienced in a while.
I've always been a very family-oriented woman. I know I'm hardly alone in this position, but my husband and kids are the center of my universe.
And since I started my business 16 years ago, I've also been captivated with the experience of building something from the ground up and seeing the results that it brings, not just to me, but the families that The Sleep Sense Program helps.
I find the "mompreneur" life extremely rewarding and I just love hearing the similar, but unique, stories of other moms who have come up with a solution to a common parenting problem and created a business around it.
That's why I'm so excited to be talking today to Katy Mallory and Lou Childs, the creators of the SlumberPod. They're a mother-daughter team who have come up with an amazing product that can help your baby sleep almost anywhere, anytime!
Their story is a truly inspiring example of what can be accomplished with a couple of creative minds, a drive to succeed, and a focus on family. Check it out!
The last month or two have seen some unprecedented changes in our daily lives, due in large part to the stay-at-home directive imposed on a huge percentage of the world's population. And while we all wish we had more time to spend with our kids, spending all day, every day with them stuck in the house presents a lot of new challenges that can leave us feeling overwhelmed at times.
So today I have a few tips to help you navigate these uncharted waters, keep your little ones' schedule on track, and make the most of this time together with our families, even if it is a little more than we might have planned on.
When I originally created the Sleep Sense Program 14 years ago, I didn't intend to make a business out of it. It was just my personal solution to the problem of my first-born not sleeping.
Many entrepreneurs start out this way. They're not looking to start a business, they're just people who've come up with a better way of doing things.
That's why, at this particularly challenging point in time, I'm delighted to bring you the story of Cara Sayer, the creator of Snoozeshade.
In 2009, Cara was a mum who needed a solution to a problem she had (and knew that many other parents had) - how to get her baby to sleep when they were out and about.
With no experience in retail or manufacture she invented what is now the UK and US best-selling range of baby sun and sleep shades – SnoozeShade – which are recommended by baby experts, loved by parents and have won over 70 awards. Cara has grown SnoozeShade from one product to thirteen (with versions for strollers, infant car seats and pack’n’plays) and has helped hundreds of thousands of parents worldwide.
I found her story funny, fascinating, and super-relatable. Give it a listen and I'm sure you will too!
You can check out Cara's amazing line of baby sleep products at www.snoozeshade.com
All of the sharing we do on social media has made this a bit of a strange time to be a new mother.
On the one hand, we're undoubtedly seeing more understanding and acceptance around the idea of postpartum depression. Mothers who are experiencing it have a number of forums and communities to discuss their feelings with others who have experienced the same situation.
On the other, it feels like there's never been so much pressure to put on a brave face and show the world that you've got everything under control.
My guest today, Dr. Sudeepta Varma is a board-certified psychiatrist, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and she's joining me today for a frank and open conversation about postpartum depression, what causes it, how to identify it, and how to ask for help or to offer support to people you love who might be going through it.
Dr. Varma has so much insight and information on the subject, and I think this conversation is an absolute must-listen for any new mother and for the people who love them.
After all my years as a pediatric sleep expert, you might think I'd get a little fatigued talking about the subject, but the truth is, there's never been a more exciting time to be in this line of work. There's a prominent new focus on the value and health benefits of sleep, and with it comes a lot of research and findings, which brings a lot of exciting new conversations.
That's why I'm so pleased to be speaking today with Dr. Mary Wilde. A board-certified pediatrician, author, mother of eight (wow!) and the founder of Imagine Pediatrics Behavioral Health & Wellness, Dr. Mary has a unique and innovative approach to child wellness.
On today's show, we're discussing some of the sleep challenges facing kids today and exchanging some thoughts on how current research has reshaped our approach to dealing with them.
You can find out more about Dr. Mary at her website, drmarywilde.com
Stress is a part of life, there's no getting around it. No matter our age, gender, or responsibilities, we all feel the pressures of day to day life, and we all deal with it the best we can.
But as parents, how we react when we're feeling overwhelmed can have a trickle-down effect on the rest of our family. Overreactions due to stress can leave our kids confused, and us feeling like bad parents.
Which is why I'm so excited to be speaking today with Emily Nagoski, researcher, activist, and author of the amazing book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.
Emily has some amazing insights into what causes stress, why we hold on to it, and offers a few simple, practical suggestions for dealing with it in your day to day life.
So give it a listen and then pick up a copy of her book. You'll be glad you did, I assure you!
There's a common misconception among mothers, both old and new, that breastfeeding and sleeping well are mutually exclusive. You can sleep well or you can nurse on demand, but you can't do both.
I've worked hard to dispel that myth, but to be perfectly honest, I had a very hard time nursing my babies, and don't consider myself to be the foremost authority on the subject.
That's why I'm so glad to be joined today by Courtney Zentz, LLC and postpartum doula, who also happens to be a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant!
Courtney has some really eye-opening insight into the facts and myths about breastfeeding, why many parents believe babies can't sleep well and nurse well, and how to incorporate proper nutrition and healthy sleep habits into your family's life.
As the mother of two teenage boys, I have to admit that, on occasion, I find it hard to connect with them.
I find myself walking a fine line between wanting to show interest in their lives and respecting their privacy. Between showing them love and smothering them with it. Between letting them be themselves and raising them to be good men.
Which is why I was so thrilled to speak with Dr. Michael Reichert this week, the author of How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men.
Dr. Reichert has some of the most perceptive and profound insights into parenting that I've ever heard, and I mean that sincerely. If you're raising a boy, or even have one in your life, I just can't recommend this episode highly enough.
How many two-parent families out there can relate to this scenario?
Your little one, who both of you spend plenty of time with and love unconditionally, has grown to a point where they can communicate some basic preferences.
They like carrots, but not as much as they like applesauce.
They like the dog, but not as much as they like their stuffed giraffe.
And they like Dad, but not nearly as much as they like Mom.
And they're not afraid to show it, despite the fact that it absolutely breaks the less-favorite parent's heart.
Of course, we're grown-ups so we know that our babies love us, and it doesn't matter if they have a slight preference for one parent over the other, right?
Well, that may be what we tell ourselves, but of course it stings when your baby prefers someone over you.
In today's episode, I'll talk about why kids tend to show more affection to one parent, grandparent, or caregiver over another.
And although I may not be able to change your child's behavior, I do have some reassuring thoughts to help you remember that you, as the parent, as by the far the important person in your little one's eyes, even though they may not always show it.
I'm certainly not a "free-range" parent. I'm just too much of a worrier to let my kids run around unsupervised. But on the other hand, I do think that kids need some amount of authority over their own lives.
Providing your little ones with choices is beneficial on a couple of levels. It allows them to feel like they have some measure of control over things, and it provides some early lessons about the consequences of their decisions. Not to mention the peace and harmony it can help to maintain around the house!
Today, we'll talk a bit about how to provide your kids with choices, and the benefits that come along with providing them those options.
Let's be honest here. (Ha!) Unless you're an exceptionally lucky parent, your child is going to tell the occasional fib.
As a parent, you'll have to decide how when and how to call them out on it, and what the consequences are when they tell a lie.
In today's episode, I've got a few tips for you to help decide on a strategy you can be comfortable with when you find your little one bending the truth, as well as a few insights as to why children tell lies in the first place.
I recently asked my Facebook friends what parenting challenges they needed some help with, and when it came to the parents of toddlers, the overwhelming response was one you can probably identify with; Whining.
It's pretty much guaranteed that shortly after your little one learns to communicate, they'll discover whining as a tactic for getting what they want.
And it can be super annoying!
Parenting experts are quick to tell you that if you don't give in to the behavior, your little one will give it up, which is usually true. What they don't tell you as often is how to maintain your sanity when your little one is shrieking for a treat, or pitching a fit in the middle of the grocery store.
So today, I have a few tips to help you keep your cool and respond to your child's whining in a way that will end, or at least minimize the behavior, when your little one resorts to whimpering to get their way.
People tend to make light of the sleepless nights that new parents experience when they have a new baby. We all go through it, and so we tend to laugh it off once our little ones grow up and start sleeping through the night.
But sleep deprivation is no laughing matter, and it can have serious effects on your mental health and, subsequently, on your relationship.
In today's episode, I want to look at some of the actual physical changes that take place in your brain and body when you don't get enough sleep, and talk about how those changes can make you less likely to approach conflicts with your partner in an impartial, rational way, as well as what you can do, starting tonight, to address the issue.
It's not like we don't know that our kids need a lot of sleep. Every parent in the world realizes that babies sleep a lot more than adults, but when's the last time you actually thought about why?
The obvious answer, "They get cranky if they don't sleep," is true of course, but there's a lot of fascinating science behind that fact, and sleep does so much more for our little ones than just regulating their mood.
So today, I'm going to look at the amazing operation going on inside your baby's body and mind while they snooze, and why it's so vital for helping them grow, keeping them healthy, and getting them off to a great start in life.
Most of the parents I've worked with over the years fall into a very common trap when it comes to their baby's sleep, and it's because it's such a reasonable belief.
"The more tired you are, the better you'll sleep."
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Like food or water, the more your body needs, the more it will accommodate.
The fact is, this notion isn't just inaccurate, it's actually just the opposite. Because of our bodies' natural response to overtiredness, it causes light, fragmented sleep in babies as well as adults.
So how do you avoid that pitfall? The most important thing to keep your eye on is how long your baby is awake between naps.
In today's episode, I've got some specific guidelines to keep your baby's "awake window" in the appropriate range for their age, as well as some tips to help you adjust the schedule if you find things aren't going as planned.
Taking daytime naps is something we usually associate with babies and toddlers, and for good reason. Young kids need a lot of sleep and tend to get a big chunk of it during the day.
But as more people are realizing, daytime naps are rewarding for adults too. They can be a great tool to regulate your nighttime sleep and stay on top of your game throughout the day.
However, I've heard from a lot of people that they either can't get to sleep during the day, or that naps leave them feeling groggy when they wake up from them, and even that they interfere with their nighttime sleep.
I personally am a big believer in the rejuvenating effects of a quick daytime snooze, and I take a nap almost every day. In today's episode, I'll talk about why they're so beneficial, and share a few of my strategies for getting to sleep quickly and waking at the right time to ensure you get up refreshed and energized, and don't impede your ability to get back to sleep at bedtime.
I know a lot of parents who avoid this problem by simply not traveling, but that's not always an option, and it's certainly not a good solution for those of us who love to travel.
Staying in a hotel room with a young baby presents a whole pile of concerns for parents. Where should she sleep, how do we keep her on a schedule, and of course, what if she cries? After all, it's not just you that she's going to disturb if she spends an hour wailing in the middle of the night.
In today's episode, I have a few creative, slightly unorthodox solutions to help make sure that your hotel stay is as peaceful as possible, and that will keep you and your baby from falling back into any bad habits that may have derailed her sleep in the first place.
If you're raising kids with a partner, it's a pretty safe bet that there's going to be the occasional argument between the two of you, and sometimes, like it or not, they happen in front of the kids.
We tend to beat ourselves up when we argue in front of our kids, but the truth is they can learn some important lessons from seeing their parents argue, so long as it's done in a productive and respectful way.
In today's show, I've got some suggestions to help you maintain civility and regard for your partner when you argue, and keep you mindful of the example you're setting for your little ones when it happens in front of them.
It's a very rare child who's willing to eat anything you put in front of them. Most kids crave sweets and white carbs, and occasionally protein in the form of chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Not exactly foods your pediatrician would call, "healthy."
Getting young children to eat their vegetables can result in some frustrating battles, but you can't just feed them their favorite foods all the time. So what's a parent to do?
In today's episode, I have some tips to help you ease the tensions around dinnertime, encourage your kids to try new foods, and a few suggestions for how to prepare nutritious options so your kids will actually enjoy them.
Every mother knows that raising kids is a full time job. Not "full time" in the business sense of 9-5, Monday to Friday, but full time in the literal sense. You never clock out, you never get a vacation, and you never retire.
Which is a big part of the reason those of us who choose to pursue a career on top of being moms can often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by feeling of guilt and inadequacy.
My guest on today's show, Jessica Turner, author of the bestselling book, The Fringe Hours and founder of the popular lifestyle blog, The Mom Creative, has a new book on the way. Stretched Too Thin is a compassionate, encouraging guide to help moms lose the guilt, ease their stress, and embrace their roles as working mothers.
As many of you will probably know if you've listened to my podcast before, my first child started off as a terrible sleeper.
And like any parent in my position, I did a ton of research to try and figure out what the problem was.
For some reason, no matter how many people I heard talking about the importance of bedtime routines, I always dismissed them as being inconsequential.
But I'm a firm believer now, and today I'll be discussing why bedtime routines are so important for getting your baby sleeping through the night, and what you can do to improve your little one's routine to ensure they're primed and ready for a long, restful snooze.
Audrey Hepburn once said, “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.”
That's great advice, but it's a little sparse on the "how-to" side. We would all love to be happy, but it's not always easy, especially when you're shouldering the responsibilities of a parent.
Which is why I'm so excited to be speaking with my guest on the show today. K.J. Dell'Antonia is the author of How to Be a Happier Parent. A practical, thoroughly researched guide to bringing more joy into our everyday lives, not by doing more (please, no) but by doing things differently.
This mother of four and former editor of The New York Times’ Motherlode blog has some straightforward, effective advice for finding the joy in the otherwise chaotic experience of raising a family.
Her book, How to Be a Happier Parent, is available from Penguin Random House Publishing or wherever you find great books.